Birthday Matters

By Erin Spatz

Birthday Matters

I recently celebrated a birthday – a birthday that put me on a side of 30 that I really don’t like. It’s the all about the number for me. Since numbers and I have never gotten along, it seems fitting that I am actually angry at the number. I know the sayings, “You are as young as you feel,” and, “The number shouldn’t matter.” But just when you start acting as young as you feel, there is always some twerp to remind you of the number.

Even though I am not on a side of 30 I enjoy, I have noticed that I am a lot more comfortable in my own skin. It’s slightly saggier skin and has a significant amount of stretch marks. I no longer have “northern” boobs, but I have “southern” boobs, and I think living in the south makes that okay. In my twenties I worried if a roll showed, and I wore a ton more “shape wear.”

Men, if you’re not sure what shape wear is, just envision wrapping an ace bandage around your arm as tightly as possible with the sole intent of making your arm look smooth under your sleeve. Sounds crazy right? Well, in my twenties I owned a lot of it. And if there is one thing that a woman cannot do in a sexy way it’s put on shape wear, or take it off for that matter. Ladies, if you want to know if your man is in it for the long haul, put on some shape wear in front of him and then try taking it off. If he stays in the room, it’s true love.

Realizing that after having four babies wreck my body, I could actually be more comfortable with myself, is something of a mind blower. As a teenager and into my twenties I would avoid the camera like the plague, and from an early age I never thought a picture of me looked good. So I started trying to not be in any picture if I could help it. I tried standing all different crazy ways, hiding behind other people. Once I became a mom it became much easier to avoid the camera because I was the one holding the camera. Moms tend to become obsessed with the camera and their baby. Rightly so! Your baby is the cutest, smartest best baby ever! I have boxes of pictures of the kids and Eric. Out of all those pictures the only ones I am in are the shots taken right after I had the baby. Which no one looks good in!

Around the time Chandler was two, I started thinking about how important it was to have photos of us as a family – an accurate depiction of who we really are; a family who loves God and each other. I had already attempted the “portrait studio,” and let’s just say that by the time that was over I was doubting whether we actually loved each other or not! It was a hot mess of crying, sweating, wrinkly disaster and that was just Eric, so you know the kids hated it.

I wanted us to look like us: Kids with missing teeth, crazy pony tails and dirty feet; me with the not so perfect hair and minus the shape wear, and Eric looking as comfortable with the kids as he is in real life. Plus, he does have some terrifying memories of the dreaded portrait studio…I had heard about a really great local photographer. I gathered all my information and presented my case to Eric. Who grudgingly agreed to go.

I was excited it was going to be outside, in the afternoon, after naps, perfect. I still remember that day. Chandler, now six, was two at the time. It was one of the most fun days I have had with our family. I did the “mom thing” and dressed us all alike, and some of my favorite pictures are from that day.

We have had our photos done a couple more times since that first day with the same amazing photographer. What I have learned is that anyone can take a picture, but to capture your family in print as they really are requires something different than just skill. Meghan, our beloved self-taught photographer and now friend, has the ability to see the broken as beautiful. She transforms the outdoors into a space as comfy as your couch. It’s not just her talent that you see in each photo, but her love of where she is and what she is doing.

She came and took amazing photos of the senior girls at Teach My People, and they were more than beautiful. She also did a session with all the kids at Teach My People. They were group photos, but each kid is clearly seen and captured. You can tell by looking at those pictures who is quiet and shy or who is the mischievous one. Eric has been fortunate enough to perform several wedding ceremonies where she was the photographer. That means I get to see any of the wedding pictures he may be in, which is super fun! There should always be an air of reverence, mystery and beauty in a wedding ceremony, but to be able to capture that in a photo is brilliant. I have seen her pictures of dogs at animal shelters that make me want to adopt 600 new dogs! Now that’s a talent!

I no longer feel the need to avoid the camera. Or the need for shape wear, that stuff is crazy uncomfortable! I see my flaws and imperfections, and I kind of like them. I know where each one came from. I tease Meghan all the time that someday she’ll be my own personal photographer. She can follow me around through household chores and car pool. Probably not the best use of her talent but I bet she’d make me look good doing it!

About this writer

  • Erin Spatz is a writer and blogger living in a quaint town called Pawleys Island. Erin was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Palm Bay, Florida. Five years after her first blog, Erin creatively turned her diary entries into a published book. The book entitled Who Left Me in Charge is a humorous look at parenting and life in general. 
    Erin is married to a minister and Executive Director of Teach My People, Eric Spatz, and they have four children.

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One Response to “Birthday Matters”

  1. “If you want to know if your man is in for the long haul…” that was priceless and so true. I cried on my 30th and my life began on my 40th. Your story was great!

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